power flowers
This was another Tangible User Interfaces projects, in response to the prompt, "Make some kind of shape display". The interface had to both be able to display a shape to convey some information, and also let the user modify its shape in order to control or alter that information. Below is what my team came up with.

Problem: Shared resources don’t gain sympathy.

Solution: Distill effects of consumption to a personal level

Our Project: We will take the environment as the shared resource of interest.

Description: Individuals' daily energy consumption creates unseen influences on the environment. This unseen influence is too abstract to produce an effective call to action. Our goal is to create an organic form that displays your relationship to your energy use. We explore the relationship between the Life (the organic form) and consumption. We will run under the simplified argument that consumption is inversely proportional to your energy consumption. A garden will represent the organic form and the brightness of an LED light system will be the energy consumer. Higher energy consumption in the lighting system will lead to a tangible garden display that appears less healthy. The lights can be directly controlled by a light switch and the garden will react accordingly. Or, the garden can be directly manipulated (groomed or killed) to in turn influence the state of the lighting system.

The Build Out: Designing the flower mechanics. There are three flowers that can close up or bloom outward.
How the flower connects to the underlying servo motors. Each servo pushes a stick up or down, which in turn causes the petals to open or close.

Designing the petals. They connect to the outside of the flower skeleton for aesthetic value.

Designing the servo motor housing. This are mounted inside the flower pot in order to control the flowers from underneath.

Designing and building the light stand.

Putting it all together

Mechanical Tests: